Greenways lead to paths of connectivity

March 27, 2024

$42.6 million infrastructure grant to improve accessibility for East and South Knoxville residents

The City of Knoxville recently received a landmark grant as part of the national infrastructure investment by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The largest federal award in the city’s recent history, the grant will bring improvements in connectivity and accessibility to disconnected neighborhoods in East Knoxville and other areas to centers of growth like downtown, the Urban Wilderness and South Knoxville.

Greenways are the unsung heroes of community planning. Often undervalued as an aesthetic project or a post-construction add-on, these pathways deserve more consideration as arteries of a neighborhood that can bring significant changes to quality of life. At LDA Engineering, we have seen firsthand how this connectivity creates stronger, happier, communities, bringing together residents, visitors and businesses.

The paths positively impact individuals and improve communities by providing recreation and transportation opportunities, while also influencing economic and community development and helping sustain our environment.

The benefits to greenways include:

  • Preserving natural and cultural resources and creating open spaces.
  • Encouraging physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, contributing to public health and potentially leading to reduced healthcare costs.
  • Offering alternative forms of transportation, which can increase property values.
  • Mitigating effects of climate change.
  • Promoting biodiversity and ecological balance while improving air and water quality.
  • Connecting neighborhoods, parks, schools and other amenities to create social cohesion.
  • Providing safe paths for pedestrian and bike traffic, thus reducing the risk of traffic accidents.
  • Providing accessible recreation opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities.
  • Enhancing aesthetic appeal and quality of life.
  • Boosting local economies by attracting tourists and supporting local businesses.

The LDA team has worked with cities around East TN to collaborate on several recent greenway projects to enhance communities in East Tennessee and is thrilled to see federal support and acknowledgment of the value of these features.

A nearby project in Alcoa, Tennessee called Project Pearl includes 1.63 miles of greenways along East Hunt Road. The project featured a 15-foot-high timber boardwalk to bridge gap of greenway over low creek area, and required months of coordination, review and permitting for CSX transportation railroad crossing as well as adherence to TDOT Standard Drawings and Specifications guidelines. We successfully completed the project in 2024.

Little Turkey Creek is LDA’s most recently completed greenway in Farragut, Tennessee, and includes 1,400 linear feet of new greenway between Brookmere Subdivision and Sheffield Greenway Connector, bringing together two sides of a large residential area that previously had no access to each other or to the nearby park amenities.

“LDA has been fortunate to work with several local governments on greenway and sidewalk projects in communities such as Alcoa, Farragut, Johnson City, Knoxville and Nashville,” said Jason Elliott, a principal engineer for LDA. “We are always looking to help expand greenway systems in communities, so that the local citizens may benefit from walking and biking safely.”